Thursday, October 6, 2011

The story involving hockey, concussions and chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) has taken another turn.
Researchers in Boston have revealed that the brain of Richard Martin, who was a member of the famed French Connection with the Buffalo Sabres, contained CTE.
Martin, who died of a heart attack in March at the age of 59, played 11 NHL seasons, mostly without a helmet. He is the third former NHLer — but the first who wasn’t a fighter — whose brain has been found to have had CTE. The other two were Reggie Fleming and Bob Probert.
Robert Stern, a professor of neurology and neurosurgery at Boston University and co-director of the Center for the Study of Traumatic Encephalopathy at the university’s school of medicine, told James Christie of The Globe and Mail that Martin’s “CTE was definitely there and likely caused by repetitive blows to the head, received in hockey over the years.”
It is interesting that Martin, despite the presence of CTE, hadn’t shown any of the symptoms of the chronic brain disease that so many other diagnosed athletes had shown. That only goes to show how this research really is in its infancy and how much researchers continue to learn about the brain.
Dr. Ann McKee, who has done so much work in this area, examined Martin’s brain.
“Someone who wasn’t a fighter, by playing the game of hockey for the number of years that (Martin) did . . . it put him at risk for developing this disease,” Stern told Christie.
“We can speculate symptoms would have gotten worse. The message is that we need to take brain trauma in hockey and in all sports much more seriously than we have before.”
Researchers also are examining the brain of Derek Boogaard, who died earlier this summer. Results of that examination have yet to be released.
Christie’s complete story is right here.
“The WHL's decision to modify its injury report is hardly a life-or death issue,” writes Greg Harder in the Regina Leader-Post. “Perhaps no one outside the media even noticed. However, it does point to a larger issue of credibility, raising legitimate questions about what the WHL is trying to hide.”
Harder’s complete column is right here.
Things weren’t very pretty in Swift Current on Wednesday as the Broncos held their annual general meeting.
According to a team-issued news release: “The Broncos announced a financial loss of $197,226. The loss on the Hockey Operations side was $882,587, but additional revenues in Corporate Sponsorship, Corporate Suites and Fundraising closed the gap partially.”
A year ago, the Broncos announced a loss of $58,927 for 2009-10.
Jordan Wall, the Broncos’ director of business operations, told Steven Mah of the Southwest Booster after Wednesday night’s meeting: “It is very startling. I mean, it is not completely unexpected. We understood there were certain factors that led to it and we understood that we were probably going down that road this season, especially with a rough second half. But it is not a number you want to see and it is very scary for the long-term viability of the franchise.”
Think about the last part of that quote for a moment . . . “It is very scary for the long-term viability of the franchise.”
And thinks don’t look any better for this season, not with season-ticket sales somewhere south of 1,500. The Broncos have played two home games this season, drawing 2,023 fans to their home-opener (a 4-2 loss to the Regina Pats) and 1,812 (a 6-5 loss to the Brandon Wheat Kings).
Mah reported: “Ticket sales, per game attendance, and season-ticket sales all decreased during (2010-11). Per game attendance dropped for the second straight season, from 2,197 to 2,135.”
Mah’s complete story is right here.
JUST NOTES: The host Saskatoon Blades won the Brodsky Bowl on Wednesday night, beating the visiting Prince George Cougars, 6-1. Jack Brodsky is the governor and president of the Blades; his brother Rick owns the Cougars. . . . The Cougars had six 16-year-old players, five of them forwards, in their lineup. . . . F Brett Connolly, who played the last three seasons with the Prince George Cougars, will open the season with the NHL’s Tampa Bay Lightning. In the preseason, Connolly, the sixth overall pick in the 2010 NHL draft, skated on a line with NHL stars Steven Stamkos and Marty St. Louis. When the Lightning opens against the host Carolina Hurricanes on Friday, Connolly likely will be on the third line, alongside Dominic Moore and Ryan Shannon. . . .
The Medicine Hat Tigers are the first Central Division team to visit the Victoria Royals. They’ll play there tonight and Friday. Before leaving Medicine Hat, the Tigers assigned G Dawson MacAuley, 17, to the midget AAA Prince Albert Mintos and D Ryan Aasman to the AJHL’s Spruce Grove Saints. MacAuley’s departure leaves Kenny Cameron, 18, to back up starter Tyler Bunz. Aasman, who from Medicine Hat, was selected by the Prince Albert Raiders with the eighth overall pick in the 2007 bantam draft. . . . G Luke Siemens, acquired Tuesday from the Everett Silvertips, stopped 19 shots on Wednesday night to help the host Moose Jaw Warriors to their fourth straight victory, a 3-2 triumph over the Lethbridge Hurricanes. . . . D Collin Bowman, 20, has returned to the Warriors from the camp of the AHL’s Connecticut Whale. He is expected to be in the Warriors’ lineup Friday against the visiting Edmonton Oil Kings. . . .
In Edmonton, the Reinhart brothers staged something of a family reunion, although Griffin, a defenceman with the Oil Kings, wasn’t around for the finish against the Kootenay Ice. He took a kneeing major and game misconduct in the third period, so missed the end of what was a 2-1 shootout victory for the Oil Kings. . . . Kootenay F Brandon Hurley, who took the knee from Reinhart, is believed to have suffered a charleyhorse. . . . The Ice’s roster includes F Max Reinhart and F Sam Reinhart, both of whom came up empty in the shootout. All three are sons of former NHL D Paul Reinhart. . . .
In Vancouver, newly acquired G Adam Morrison stopped 25 shots through OT as the Giants scored a 3-2 shootout victory over the Spokane Chiefs. Vancouver F James Henry scored the only goal of the shootout to make a winner out of Morrison, who was acquired Tuesday in a four-player deal with the Saskatoon Blades. F Levi Bews, who also came to Vancouver in that deal, scored the Giants’ first goal. . . . The Red Deer Rebels have traded D Brad Deagle, 19, to the Seattle Thunderbirds for a conditional seventh round pick in the 2013 bantam draft. A third-round pick in the 2007 bantam draft, Deagle had 12 points, all of them assists, in 62 games last season. Deagle’s departure leaves the Rebels with nine defencemen still on their roster. . . .
The host Kelowna Rockets ran their winning streak to nine games with a 4-3 victory over the Tri-City Americans. The Rockets, who went 6-0 in the exhbition season, have won their first three regular-season games. They will meet again Friday, this time in Kennewick, Wash., at the Toyota Center. . . . Pat Siedlecki, the radio voice of the Lethbridge Hurricanes, reported on his blog yesterday that F Austin Fyten, 20, is scheduled to have knee surgery later this month and likely won’t play again for six months. Fyten was injured on his final shift of an exhibition game in Taber, Alta.
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